Jan 31, 2010

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something "Blu"

With the wedding coming up shortly, things are beginning to take shape.
I made Hotness's bridal bouquet and I'm taking care of the music.
I also need to get some appetizers whipped up (I have the stuff for one, but still trying to decide on what the other will be), and I'm working on the decorations... although we aren't going crazy with that. Just something to make the place look more "wedding-like".

I have my suit all ready and Hotness picked up her dress last weekend, so those are out of the way.

This is our last weekend to "take it easy", as next weekend will begin the final hours to the event.
Friday night we have a wedding shower to go to. Saturday night is the ballet. Sunday I will be getting the chairs and dropping off the decorations. Monday I'll be getting the appetizers made and setting up the chairs and decorations I dropped off earlier. Tuesday will be... let's see... um....
Oh yeah! The actual wedding.

As the day approaches, we have been asked by different people, "What would we like to have as a wedding gift?"
Hotness and I have different opinions about this.
I feel that we really don't need anything, as we've been together for so long and already have the things we need. Plus, with the economy the way it is, I don't want people to feel they HAVE to spend money on us.
Hotness feels that if people would like to get presents, we should let them. Some people really want to express their happiness for us by getting us a gift, so we shouldn't stop them and make them feel unappreciated.
So we're basically leaving it up to the individual as to whether they want to buy a gift, but it's certainly not necessary.

Now, having said that, we received our first wedding gift in the mail on Friday.
It was from my good friend Imperfect and his wife.
They got us a Blu-ray disc player!

I've been on the fence about getting one.
I was perfectly happy with the DVD player we currently had and didn't see the need for spending more money to upgrade just yet. But on the other hand, I did have a nice, new HDTV that wasn't living up to it's full potential and with Blu-ray discs being released at lower prices than standard DVDs, it was beginning to sway me over.

I would've been happy to wait until our wedding day to open their present, but due to some packaging SNAFUs, we decided to open it early.
We opened the box and... TAA-DAA!!! A beautiful, Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player was inside!
So yesterday, I made a trip down south to Fry's to pick up the HDMI cable (and a Blu-ray disc, 'cause... Heck! Why not?) as well as some LAN cable to connect it to the interwebs.

I got back home and proceeded to hook it all up.
There was an update for the firmware, so I took care of that right away and then afterwards I went about setting up the adjustments (i.e. video output, audio, brightness, on screen language, etc...).

Unfortunately, my surround sound DVD player did not have an HDMI input.
That would have been the best option. So instead, I had to use regular co-axial plugs.
But to be totally honest, I can't see that it makes a bunch of difference to my ears. My "home theater" isn't that big and my ears aren't that discerning when it comes to sound. So I'm happy it works.
I did have HDMI inputs on the TV, so I plugged the Blu-ray player directly into it.

Then I went and tried out a few standard DVDs to see if the picture quality was any better.
I noticed it was a bit sharper, but almost a bit "over compensating", so I'll have to tweak the settings a bit more (or just use the regular DVD player).

Then I put in the new disc I bought. I got "The Blue Man Group: How To Be A Megastar Live!"
This had special significance on a couple of levels.
First: Being our first "Blu-ray" disc, why not get the "Blue Man Group"?
And Second: This was the same concert tour I went to see with Imperfect a few years back, and since he got us the player it seemed appropriate.
This was by far a H-U-G-E difference in visual quality. I really didn't expect it to be, but I was amazed. Even Hotness said "Wow, that's really clear and what an amazing picture!".
So I'm totally glad to have it have it and especially happy that they got us such a nice gift.
Thank you both again!

In other news....
Nothing new to report in the job-search, although I hope to have something exciting to say in the not-to-distant future.

The Emerald City Comic Con is only a few weeks away. I'm excited and nervous at the same time for it to happen. There are so many cool new guests (Stan Lee, Leonard Nimoy) and awesome returning guests (Terry Moore, Whilce Portacio). It's also expected to be the BIGGEST show yet, which means there's going to be a LOT of hard work to do while it's happening.
Last year was a tough one, so hopefully this year we'll be better prepared. Hotness and I are sharing a hotel room for three nights (instead of two, like in previous years), so that'll help in not having to travel back right away after the second day of the show. We can relax one evening and take our time leaving on Monday.

Babysitting is still happening quite a bit and despite catching the occasional "bug" from the kids, has been a lot of fun. Being "Uncle Ferretnick" is a blast.

Well, that catches us up again for now.
I apologize for the sparse postings, but until something happens that's worth "blogging" about, I tend to just let things slide on here.
With the wedding and conventions coming up I should have more to talk about.

Ya'll be good now!

Jan 20, 2010

A Pirate Looks A Forty

Last week I turned 40.
I wasn't all "I'm having a mid-life crisis" about it, but still.... 40 years old.
That's twice as old as 20 and in some ways I don't feel any wiser than I did back then, only older.

Anyway, to mark the occasion, I wanted to have a "pirate-themed" birthday party at the Comic Stop with all my friends to celebrate.
(I was listening to Jimmy Buffet's song "A Pirate Looks At Forty" and thought that was kind of appropriate for me considering my penchant for acquiring music and such. *wink wink*)

My buddy Imperfect also has his birthday on the same day as mine, so we went to IXTAPA in town and had lunch together.
He mentioned to the restaurant owner that it was my birthday, to which I added that it was also his. The owner asked which of us was the younger, and we told him it was me.
So, after we were finished with our meals (which were muy bueno, by the way), he came over to us with two sombreros and two bowls of fried ice-cream for us, while he and a few of the waitstaff sang us "Happy Birthday".

Here we are, as the goofballs we tend to be:

Anyway, back to the party....
Hotness was busy with work and getting stuff ready for the wedding, so she delegated the party responsibilities to other capable hands.

It was supposed to be a surprise party, but since it was originally my idea and I'd only been talking about it all year, it wasn't much of a "surprise". Especially since I had to carry a cooler into the comic store that night of my birthday. (Hmmm... suspicious?)
Still, I was greeted with a loud "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" when I walked into the back and they turned on the lights.
The party was fun and it was a nice way to turn "middle-aged", even if I did look like a dork for the duration.
Here are some pics for ya:

I really didn't expect gifts, as it wasn't my intention for having a birthday get-together, but I got some pretty nifty swag nevertheless.
I got a few gift cards for iTunes and Target. A got a limited edition Mighty Mugg of Peter Parker with his "Spidey senses" going off. (Way cool!)
And I got a book that I had on my Christmas list (but Hotness wasn't able to find) called "The Supergirls".

The party didn't last too terribly long, but it was fun while it lasted.
On Saturday we met up with Dr. Zoltar and his lovely assistant to see their baby. (I'd actually gotten to see her a couple weeks earlier, but Hotness hadn't yet)

Then that evening we went to help celebrate 2.0's girlfriend's birthday. (She doesn't have a 'nickname', so I'll call her GF2.0)
Sunday was our second opera for this season and it promised to be a doozy!
It was "Il Trovatore", and it had just about everything you could want in an opera.
There was fighting, murder, love, kidnapping, curses, vengeance, gypsies and the popular "Anvil Chorus".

We were joined by GF2.0, who wasn't able to make it in time to get her seat for the first act, so she had to watch it in the lobby on the screens.
During intermission we caught up with her and we all got our seats for the second act.

Then, she left to head back home while Hotness and I went to... where else?... Pomodoro for dinner after the show.
Yum-yum-yummy, as always!

Overall it was a great birthday weekend and made turning 40 into a "not-so-bad" event.

Jan 13, 2010

Wedding Planning

Well, back to the blog again.

After proposing and getting engaged almost a year ago, I tried to come up with ideas for the wedding (what to wear, where to have it, when to have it, etc...).
I wasn't met with resistance by Hotness, but rather benign indifference. Nothing seemed like a bad idea, but it all seemed like it could be taken care of later.
So after a few weeks of trying to come up with ideas, I gave up and put it on the back burner until she wanted to sit down together and plan for it.

Nothing, other than talking about going to Las Vegas, was ever really discussed.... until about 2 weeks ago.
That was when Hotness dropped her wedding plans on me. And only 1 month before she wanted to make them happen.

She thought I was upset at first, but really all it turned out to be was that I was totally unaware of what she wanted to do until that moment.
So in one fell swoop I got the lowdown on what she wanted to do and the steps she'd already taken to make them a reality.
I was a bit speechless.
I didn't know that she was planning ANYTHING, and now I'm having to rush around and get stuff together to make it happen in less than a month.

It's not all that bad though.
I got my outfit already picked out, and last Saturday we found a dress for her that not only looks great, but totally suits her.
So those two things are taken care of.
This afternoon, we'll be heading out to pick up the marriage license.

Other than that, we're planning a very small, intimate wedding.
So right now, we're in the process of trying to get invitations made up so we can get them sent out as soon as possible.

In fact, we're not even planning on a real reception for afterwards because we'll have so few people there.
The reception we want to have will be much more elaborate so that we can share it with all our friends. But right now, we're not even sure when that will be. Originally Hotness wanted to have it on the anniversary of when I proposed, but it turns out that that's on the weekend of the Emerald City Comic Con. I'm cool with that, but for some reason she says "no". Then in April, I'll be gone for Calgary Expo again.
So for right now, that event is up in the air until we can find a time (and a place) to have it.

In the meantime, I'm just kind of in a fog.
My birthday is coming up and we're sort of 'half-way' to the wedding, so everything just seems kind of surreal right now. I know things are going to happen, but they aren't happening "right now".

I'm kind of rambling, aren't I?
Yeah, okay. Onto other subjects...

I went and saw "Avatar" the other day.
It was in 3-D and I was afraid that I might get motion sickness (as I'm prone to do at movies lately), so I dosed up on Dramamine.
What an incredible movie. And the 3-D only made it better.
I think if I'm going to get a Blu-ray player in the near future, THIS will be the movie that tips the scales in favor of doing it.

What else? Hmmm...
Oh yeah!
I TOTALLY geeked out yesterday when I found out that Stan "The Man" Lee would be coming to ECCC this year!
I only have to real goals in life, and in the grand scheme of things they are within reason.
1) To meet and get a picture taken with Weird Al Yankovic
2) To meet and get a picture taken with Stan Lee.
Looks like I can cross one of those off my list real soon! (and if anybody can help make that first one a reality, please let me know!)

I'd like to say I have a whole bunch of other stuff to talk (or rather, "blog") about, but I don't.
No news on the job search other than I haven't heard back from anybody.
Nobody has called me to even set up an interview. I'm still sending out job apps and my resume, and all I'll hearing back is the sound of crickets chirping.
I'm not depressed, but it does get a bit discouraging after a while.

I'll probably have more to talk about after this weekend.
My birthday is coming up and on Sunday Hotness and I are going to the opera (our second one for the season).
I should have SOMETHING to talk about again by then.

Jan 3, 2010

So Yeah.... 2010. Yippee.

2009 has gone out with a whimper it seems.
It had it's ups-and-downs (mostly downs) but I really can't think of last year as being anything spectacular. Just another milestone on the road of life.

Oh sure, we got a new President. That was new and a high-point for the year.
Everybody was all excited to see fresh, new blood move into the White House and take command. But where's that enthusiasm now?

Hotness and I got engaged last year. Another high-point.
But with money being tight, we really can't have the wedding we'd been planning to have.

Two good friends and myself lost their jobs last year.
Luckily the two of them were able to find work and I *might* have something lined up soon, but still... losing your job isn't exactly the most exciting thing to experience with an economy in the toilet like it is.

No, 2009 will not be a memorable year for me other than to say "Oh yeah, THAT happened".

Now with 2010 upon us, I get to look forward to hitting the 40 year mark.

I do have a lot to be thankful for, actually.
I have some very amazing, supportive friends. I'm no longer working at a place I didn't enjoy being at. I'm going to get married soon. I still have a roof over my head.
But overall, I just don't feel all that excited about this new year.
Maybe it's the grey weather outside. Maybe it's that I've been sort of cooped up in the house a lot lately. I don't know.

I realize I'm only three days into it so far, and I should really give it a chance to prove itself.
But today... I just don't feel the love for it.